An Open Letter to the Person Who Will Use the Restroom After Us:
I saw you approaching the single occupancy restroom just as my one year old escaped to crawl down the hall. I avoided eye contact, clumsily gathered all our things and power-walked down the hall. I hung my head as your judgments went flying overhead along with all the fucks I already gave, just knowing that your opinion of me would further decline upon entering that desecrated place.
Our trip to the bathroom started with a diaper change (the baby’s, not mine) which further necessitated a full outfit overhaul. Terrified of diaper changes in public restrooms, my child shrieked the whole time, my shaky hands working as quickly as possible. This would be her fifth outfit of the day; I was still wearing the same clothes which told tales of previous leaky diapers and spit up.
Then it was my turn to pee. Let me just say, that was my baby’s saliva on the toilet seat and not my urine. I still have my dignity (and my aim). As soon as I sat down, she began investigating the trash. Multiple efforts to redirect failed until I pointed out the toilet paper. You’ll find two distinct piles, one roll completely undone and one ripped like confetti. Once she had taken advantage of all the toilet paper had to offer, she moved on to the toilet itself. So then, I sat upon the throne while Her Tiny Highness sat upon me in order to prevent her from eating the plunger or sticking her tongue between the toilet seat and the bowl. Her interest in the toilet paper was rekindled a few moments later. A small part of me dies every time she watches me wipe (because, let’s face it, this has happened before).
I had to keep her contained as I pulled up my pants one-handed. I placated myself as I washed both our hands, one at a time, however there would be no hand drying. The ripping of the paper towel echoes like machine gun fire, inciting all manner of tears, screams, and boo boo lips – as does the roaring fly by of the flushing toilet. So yes, I let it mellow, and yes you’ll feel the moist door handle as you exit.
I hope you relish your private potty time. Enjoy the stillness, the solitude, the relative quiet. Build your toilet paper teepee in peace. Wash (and dry) your hands methodically. Think of me kindly as you clutch the door knob in your paper towel then turn around to score a basket as you leave with satisfaction.